Advances in information and communications technologies (ICTs) and new business models have widened opportunities for trade in digitized ideas, shaping global value chains and production networks in cultural or creative goods and services. However, much of this trade has eluded conventional categorization and new business models. In particular multinational firms have blurred the way international transactions can be recorded and how this can be transformed into relevant statistics for policy makers, research and for businesses themselves. Recent international statistical guidelines have suggested a number of improvements to better respond to policy information needs, including in the area of trade, innovation or culture. However, a number of questions remain unanswered. The objective of the paper is therefore to trace the conceptual and empirical statistical picture and assess the quality of existing statistics and the extent to which important trade in digitized ideas is inadequately measured. It discusses conceptual issues, and constraints encountered in gaining a full picture. A number of possible data collection and compilation solutions are suggested to enable a better understanding of this trade.


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  • Published online: 29 Jul 2016
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